Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Post by Jon Neal, Author of The Other Path (Stanley Messina Investigates)

3 February 2023

Special Guest Post by Jon Neal, Author of The Other Path (Stanley Messina Investigates)

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

An inquest ruled it was a tragic accident, so why does somebody believe it wasn't? In the depths of winter, a snowstorm descends upon the tiny Sussex hamlet of Littleworth. All roads are blocked. Nobody can get in. Nobody can get out.

My latest novel is called ‘The Other Path’. It’s a mysterious tale set in a fictional hamlet nestled in the south downs of Sussex. Following a heavy snowstorm, one of the local residents is found dead outside his home. Whilst an inquest rules that it was a tragic accident, somebody believes there might be more to it. 

The book introduces readers to a private investigator named Stanley Messina and draws on elements of traditional detective novels that many will be familiar with. There’s an isolated community, a closed circle of suspects, clues, and red herrings. However, it also touches upon contemporary issues in its development of characters and plot.

The Other Path’ is a bit of a departure for me. I’ve always enjoyed the traditional murder mysteries of authors such as Agatha Christie, and wondered whether I could create something for a modern audience. My interest in such stories lies in the combination of puzzle and storytelling, with the additional elements of shock twists and surprises. Therefore, this book focuses more on characters and their surroundings rather than dogged police procedures. I’m keen to tell stories in accessible ways.

To anyone else starting out as a writer, I’d recommend reading as much as possible. That might sound obvious, but it really is where all good writing starts. Books are my absolute addiction. To all other bookworms out there, I know you’ll understand. On a practical note, I’d also suggest kicking off with smaller forms such as short stories and novellas. They’re a great way to hone skills and discipline, yet also offer the opportunity to achieve a sense of achievement through quicker completion.

I’m extremely private regarding my own creativity and writing schedule. When developing ideas, I like to keep my own counsel. Discussing process or ideas with other people tends to take the impetus out of my work, so I try to avoid doing this. Only when a first draft of a novel is complete do I share with a sensitive and vigorous team of beta readers. Such critical friendships have proved invaluable in the development of my writing career.

I promote my books through social media and am planning to build a website and circulate an e-newsletter. As an indie author I’m ‘exclusive’ to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and support my books through the use of some advertising. I’ve found the wider writing community extremely generous in offering support, guidance and encouragement. I’m tremendously grateful for this and value the progress I’ve made through the input and advice from others.

Writing full-time as an indie author becomes increasingly busy. As well as honing my craft as a writer, my time is spent on book production, business matters and promotion. Keeping all the plates spinning can be tricky at times, but I love the variety and challenge of it all. To have the opportunity to write at such an innovative time for indie authors is incredibly exciting. Publishing continues to evolve, and I relish the chance to be at the forefront of this dynamic industry.

Jon Neal 

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About the Author

Jon Neal’s first short novel ‘A Twin Room’ was published in 2022 and reached number 1 in its Amazon category, selling copies around the globe. ‘The Other Path’ is the first in a series of page-turning mysteries introducing private investigator, Stanley Messina. Jon completed a Master of Arts in Writing at Swinburne University whilst living in Australia. He also has a Music and Media Studies degree from the University of Sussex. He came runner up in the 2010 Sydney Mardi Gras short story competition and has been shortlisted for other prizes. Jon grew up in Kent, but now lives with his partner in East Sussex. You can find Jon on Facebook and Twitter @Jon_Neal_Author

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